We all like to do good, for the most part. It’s like this messed up evolutionary thing where we like to feel like we do ok at something at least. Or perhaps at the minimum not suck hardcore. We also like to feel like there’s something out there that’s for us, a thing that’s our thing, that we’re known to be good at, and then we try to turn that thing into our career.
Some of us are good communicators.
Some of us are good athletes.
Some of us are good creatively.
Some of us are good at figuring out things.
Some of us are good at nurturing.
Some of us are good at drinking wine.
I like to think I fall into the last category.
Finding what it is that you’re good at can be hard though. Or trying to become good at something and putting yourself at the mercy of other’s judgement can be even tougher. I’m currently trying my hand at a course to learn more about something and to possibly have another avenue for my career, but it’s opening me up to some criticism and comparison to others. I’d totally forgotten what that felt like.
FYI: It feels like shit.
Right about now, there’s a bunch of Year 12 students either eagerly awaiting results or just received results. Some will be feeling pretty pumped. Others will be left feeling distraught. It’s one of the main points in our life where we’re pitted against others, compared and ranked so blatantly, and that can be confronting for many.
I received feedback from this course and it left me feeling horrid. I immediately decided that I was shit at the course, what the hell was I thinking and I felt embarrassed for trying. And I’m a grown lady who is supposedly mature (I use that term very loosely). So to be a young 17 or 18 year old and receiving such huge results can be a lot to take on, and for some it might be too much.
It’s all well and good for us to support them by saying ‘you did the best you could’ or ‘it’ll be ok’, but let’s be real here- nobody likes to hear those words, especially not a teen. Such words will probably be met with a vacant stare, glazed eyes, a huff and a heel turn. Think five year old on steroids.
So what can we do for our kids when they’re given news/feedback/results that could impact them negatively? (And this isn’t just for our big kids, this is for little ones too!)
It’s that simple.
We listen to them, when they’re ready. We listen to the anger, the sadness, the confusion, the fears, the despair. Let them get it all out.
When they’re ready, we can try and help problem solve. But they need to be the problem solvers, we’re just the sounding board. We can’t be the ones telling them what to do anymore.
We might know just what needs to happen, but we can’t just spit that out at them. We can offer suggestions or ideas, but they have to be the ones to take them up.
One of the biggest things we can do is let them know that it’s not the end of things for them. Because it’s truly not. For every door that closes, there’s three more that open up. Those open doors might just be down a longer corridor though, or there might be another corner to turn to get to that door. But it’s open.
Problem is when we can’t see those doors open right in front of us, it can feel like we’re stuck in the dark, with nowhere to go. We need to be able to let them know that it might be dark right now, but there are open doors waiting. And the next door they walk through could be even better than they anticipated.
Actually, that advice is pretty good for us all really, isn’t it?
We also need to help them reflect on all the things that HAVE been achieved/done well/completed to date, and get a grasp of the bigger picture. Doors have been opened, sometimes doors have been kicked down. And more doors will be opened again in the future too.
While everyone can’t always be the winner, and sometimes things don’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean the end, or it wasn’t enough. Because the effort was there. And when there’s effort, there’s always an open door.
They did well. We did well. We’re all doing ok.
How do you cope when you get an outcome that isn’t what you hoped for? Do you remember getting your Year 12 results? Did you freak out about it?